Tuesday, December 25, 2012

'Lil Man Mustache Bash {Baby Shower}

My friend Megan is having a boy! 
And we had a mustache bash for 'lil man!

A boy baby shower doesn't need too many decorations, but I still wanted to make it as cute as I could. Since mustaches are the fad right now, I ran into a lot of cute ideas for a Mustache Bash of a 'Lil Man shower and so I decided to go for it. 
I am glad I did because it turned out to be a super cute shower!
I LOVE name banners and I LOVE that I was able to pull this off!  I created ties with stripes, spots and diamonds, cut them out, put baby's name on them and hot glued them to a piece of yarn.  I tied dowel rods to each end of the yarn and used vases filled with sand (from my new pool going in out back) to keep them standing upright.  This worked amazingly!  The tie banner made a perfect centerpiece for the food table and background for the cake. 

And in case you are wondering, the baby's name is Cays, pronounced Case. 

Even though I have taken a few cake decorating classes myself, a friend of the momma-to-be volunteered to make the cake, and with my busy schedule right now and the holidays, I let her take it! 

She did a great job with the cake...and you can never go wrong with Hershey's Kisses...right?  I always like to add a few Kisses to the party.
Wet Your Whiskers! 

That is what the sign says next to the punch bowl...thought that was cute!
And what little man party is complete without ties and bow ties?  I folded napkins to look like bow ties and then cut small green strips of paper with pinking shears and taped them in place to complete the bow tie.  

So simple and they looked so much better than I thought they would.  I don't know if anyone actually used them or not, but whether they did or didn't, they were a great little accessory to lay around the tables.
Another simple, yet perfectly placed decoration...I took a few frames from the Dollar Tree and painted them in different colors of greens and blues to match the shower.  I then created mustache and bow tie prints on my computer to place inside the painted frames and put along the food and gift tables.  Simply...perfect!
And who doesn't have a photo booth now days?  Well, I didn't go all out on a photo booth, but I did make some mustache and glasses props with a disposable camera for the party guests to use.  A little chalkboard sign next to the items states "We mustache you to take a pic".  How cute is that? 

Of course, the younger guests had a blast playing with the props and taking pictures, but even some of the adults had a good time too...AND we got a picture of each of the great-grandmothers with a 'stache for the baby book.  What a great and funny memory to look back on!
Last, but definitely now least...the Food!  We had a brunch with bagels, fruit and juice, but you have to  have sweets at a baby shower. 

Sticking to the blue and green colored theme, I found some blue cotton candy ~ Yum!
A shower is not a shower without cake and PUNCH of course.  Now, I have made many different kinds of punch for many different types of showers and parties, but I have to say that my all time favorite punch, especially when serving cake, is sherbet and 7-Up.  I am unaware of any blue sherbet and so I chose lime and let me tell you...it was yummy as always!  Makes me want to make some right now!
Here are the invitations that I made last minute for the shower.  They turned out pretty good considering I had to create them, address them and get them sent out in less than two days!
And look at the cutie tie inserts that I made to go in the invitations.  These are to let guests know to bring a book instead of a card to the shower.  We did this for my sister-in-law a few years back and I really liked it.  Her baby girl had a great collection of books before she was even born!
We had a great time at the shower and it turned out to be pretty danged cute.  Hopefully you can use some of my ideas and creations to have a Mustache Bash of your own! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Croissant

Thanksgiving may be over, but that doesn't mean that we have to let go of the pumpkin yet!  Pumpkin treats are some of my favorite and I love this time of year when pumpkin recipes and pumpkin stock are in abundance.

I found a recipe for pumpkin pie croissants on Pinterest (of course) and last night I made some modifications to make it more 'diet' friendly.  If you like sweet treats with pumpkin then you will love this...it is a great treat for one when you know you won't have the control to keep yourself from eating an entire pie if you make it.  Although, you may find that you can't keep your self from eating the entire batch of these either....which is why I only made a half batch for my first round...and because I only had one can of crescent rolls in the fridge.
Pumpkin Pie Croissants

Servings: 16  WW Pts+: 4
You will need:
  • 2 tubes of reduced-fat crescent rolls
  • 4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese (1/2 of a block)
  • 1 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • pumpkin pie spice to taste
  • 5 tbsp sugar or sweetener
Mix together pumpkin, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice and half of the sugar.  Beat together until well blended and creamy. 

Roll out the crescent rolls and spread an even amount of filling onto each one.  Probably a tablespoon or so to start with and then even it out. 

Roll up each roll and place on a cookie sheet.  Use the remaining sugar to sprinkle on top of each roll and then top each roll with a dash of pumpkin pie spice. 
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 375°F.

If you opt for fat-free cream cheese, the points reduce to 3 per roll.
I got mine a little brown, but they were fantastic anyway!  After you are done eating you still get a little taste of sugar when you lick your lips ~ Yum!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shredded Chicken Tacos {Crockpot Recipe}

 I have been trying to find easy dinner recipes that can be baked in the oven as casseroles or in the crockpot.  I love that you can put something in the crockpot and let it cook all day while you are at work and then you don't have much to do when you get home.  I am always ready to eat by the time I get home from work and daycare!

Oh, and I love Mexican food and so a crockpot recipe that is Mexican too can't be anything but wonderful in my book.  This is actually the second time that I have made this and both times it was amazingly good! 

Chicken in the crockpot is so tender...I absolutely love chicken cooked in the crockpot and the way that it is shredded.  I am a little bit, ok A LOT, particular when it comes to the texture of my food and I just love the texture of shredded chicken!

This is great served in a tortilla or on top of a bowl of rice!  I tried to make some lime cilantro rice like Qdoba at home and well, let's just say it didn't make the blog.  FAIL!  But if you can make a good rice or just want to use plain ol' white rice (the chicken will give it some flavor) then go for it.  For now I will stick to a tortilla... 
Shredded Chicken Tacos
You will need:
  • 3 or 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6-8 flour tortillas
Optional Toppings:
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • avocado
First of all, I ALWAYS ALWAYS use a slow cooker liner when cooking in the crockpot.  If you don't use one now you will see what I mean after the first time...you will never want to cook without one again!
Next, sprinkle the taco seasoning in the bottom of the crockpot and place the chicken breasts on top.  I like to thaw my chicken the night before so that I can cut ALL of the fat off before cooking it!  Lastly, pour in the Rotel, oil and water and turn on the low setting.  You don't even have to mix it!
This will cook on low for 6-8 hours, but honestly by the time I leave the house and go to daycare on the way to and from work it is more like 10 hours before I get home!  That just makes it even more tender.
Before serving, take a fork and shred the chicken while still in the crockpot and mix together with the juices.  Go ahead and get the rest of your toppings ready while it cooks a little longer and when your toppingsare ready to go your chicken will be ready to serve!
This recipe yields 6-8 servings at about 4 WW Pts+ depending on the amount of chicken that you cook.  The Pts+ value can be greatly reduced by removing the olive oil, but for now I have left it in.

Enjoy your chicken tacos or rice bowl!

Click here for a printable version.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Party Planning {Printable}

Party Planning can be fun...it can also be very overwhelming and frustrating too if you don't have the right tools.  I have been planning a few parties recently and have felt super unorganized about it and if there is one thing I DO NOT like, it is being unorganized! 

I do love planning parties...the decor, the invitations, the games, etc. but I have been doing more than one at a time which has allowed me to get a little off track.  I tried to find a party printable online, but there just wasn't one that fit my needs or that made a lot of sense. 

And so...I created my own printable to use.  So far, they have been working great!  Click on the links below to download a printable version which can be edited and typed into directly for easy updating and printing.

Party Printable #2

I used the Sahlin Studio The Carefree Day scrapbooking kit to design my activity planning worksheets.  You can download this kit for free personal use here:


Monday, November 26, 2012

Family Name {Family Blocks}

Here is yet another set of wooden blocks that I made.  This time, instead of a holiday blocks I decided to make one for display all year long!  This was a last minute decision and I didn't have time to go and get new paper so I used some that I already had.  The colors are browns and beige's, but once I finished it, I thought it looked a little pinkish.  Oh well, I still like them and they are a great decoration for my living room that Miss Priss can't break when she gets them off the shelf! :)
You will need:
  • 2 x 4 wood strips cut in 2 different heights, I used a 5" and 6" blocks
  • 2 x 2 wood strip cut 6" long, this will be on its side
  • scrapbook paper and letters or printed image from computer
  • sandpaper
  • black paint or spray paint
  • black ink pad and paper towel
  • Modpodge and brush (I like the foam ones!)
*The two 6" blocks will lay on their side.  You can make them longer or shorter if you would like, depending on how long your name is and the size your font.  The 5" blocks needs to stay that size though so that it lines up with the other two blocks that will be laying on their side stacked.
Begin by cutting your blocks and measuring the face of each one for your background.  Once cut, paint your blocks...I prefer spray paint because it is easy.  As always, remember that it doesn't have to be perfect because most of it will be covered with paper and you want it to have an antiqued look anyway, which you will achieve by using the sandpaper after the paint has dried. 

While your blocks are drying, create a background and letters for each block.  For this project I used scrapbook paper and cut out letters on my Cricut.  Ink the edges of your scrapbook paper using a paper towel dabbed in the black ink pad and rubbed along the edges.  This part also doesn't have to be perfect. 

Once your blocks are dried and your letters are ready, sand the edges of your blocks.  Paint Modpodge on the front of the block where you will put the scrapbook paper and rub from the center out to the edges to attach it to the block without any wrinkles or air bubbles.  If you didn't print your design on the computer and you have letters to attach also, paint on top of the paper and add your letters.  Once your letters are in place, add one more layer of Modpodge over the letters to seal them and give your blocks a more finished look.

You can also check out my other blocks here

~ Candace

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gobble Til You Wobble {Fall Blocks}

OK, I am officially obsessed with making wooden blocks for every holiday coming up, event that is occurring, person in my family....you get the idea.  With turkey day coming up, I wanted to make something cute (and funny) to display for the next few weeks before my family and I take our first Thanksgiving trip together.

We usually spend the yummy holiday with family close to home and try to hit as many different houses as we can to get a taste of all the goodies.  My family makes the absolute best food in the world, especially Thanksgiving food!  This year though, my husband, baby girl and I are headed to Destin, Florida with my dad and grandma as well as my aunt, uncle and cousins.  We have talked about this trip for a few years now, but this year we did it!

So...since I will not be home this year for Thanksgiving Day, I wanted to go ahead and start celebrating by making this cute block set for my living room.

You will need:
  • 1 x 1 wood strip cut in 3 different lengths, I used 5", 6" and 7" long blocks
  • printed letters (or white paint and stencils)
  • sandpaper
  • 3 colors of paint for blocks
  • Modpodge and brush (I like the foam brushes for this!)
First you will cut your blocks and paint each block a different color.  I used yellow, orange and brown because they are fall colors, but reds would be pretty too.  As always, remember that it doesn't have to be perfect because you want it to have a distressed look in the end and you will sand them later anyway.  I also took a little brown paint on a paper towel and rubbed it along the front of my blocks to give it a 'dirty' look.
While your blocks are drying, prepare your letters by cutting them out on the Cricut or creating stencils.  For this project, I measured and cut letters from white card stock with my Cricut.

Once your blocks are dried and your letters are ready, sand the edges to make them look distressed.  You are then ready to add your lettering.  Paint modpodge onto the front of your block and apply the letters.  I then also like to add a layer of Modpodge across the top of all the letters to seal them on the block and give them a more finished look. If you prefer to use stencils or dont have a Cricut or other die cut machine, just paint your letters onto the front of your block instead. 
Once your blocks are all done and have dried completely, you can then add your ribbon.  I added a small amount of Modpodge between each of the blocks and pressed down on them for a second or two so that they would stay together while I tied on the ribbon around them and while they are being transported for display.  I wasn't sure about this, but it seemed to work well...

You are finished...Gobble 'til you Wobble!  =) 

Check out my other blocks here.

~ Candace

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Skinny Cookies and Cream Shake

My husband is an Oreo fanatic...seriously, I cannot buy Oreos without him eating every single one of them before I even remember that I bought them.  Apparently he was this way as a kid too and his mom still refers to him as the cookie monster.  :)

I happen to like Oreos myself and so when I go to the pantry to get one and see that the entire package that I bought is completely empty and I didn't get a single one I get pretty irritated.  So this time, I made sure that my hubby knew that he COULD NOT eat all of the cookies because I had a special treat that I wanted to make for us when I found the time to do it.

Well, I finally found the time to modify a recipe for a Cookies and Cream Shake from the Weight Watchers website and made it even better for me!  And I have to say that I really, really enjoyed it and so did my husband!  There was just enough of the chocolaty round cookie that everyone loves to make this a special snack, but not enough to make me feel guilty about eating it.  And for those of you on Weight Watchers, this snack is only 3 WW Pts+.

Oh, and they don't have the reduced fat kind in Mint, but O-M-G, DO NOT try the mint if you don't want to be totally addicted to this!

All I can say is YUM!
Skinny Cookies and Cream Shake
You will need:
  • 2 cups light whipped topping
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/8 tsp mint extract (optional)
  • 4 Reduced Fat Oreos (using only 3 makes it closer to 2 WW Pts+!)*

    *Now that they have a variety of flavored Oreos, you could get mint, peanut butter, pumpkin, birthday cake, berry or any other flavor they come up with, it just wouldn't be quite as "skinny".
Place topping, milk and extract into your blender until smooth.  Add cookies and blend a little longer until combined.  This recipe yields about 2 servings at ~1 cup each.  This is not a large serving, but just enough to satisfy that sweet craving I have sometimes.  You can always add more milk and whipped topping to make a bigger shake and only add a point or two.

Another thing that I really love is mint.  I love mint ice cream, mint cookies, mint cake...you name it.  BUT mint extract is strong and so I suggest that you start out with a small amount and taste your concoction before adding any more.  Even with my great love for anything flavored mint, I have accidentally put too much in a recipe before and ruined the entire batch! 

Hope you enjoy my new "skinny" treat!

~ Candace

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Birth Announcement {Subway Art}

Subway art is the new 'in' thing right now and I really, really like it!  I have made all kinds of artwork using this new twist on New York City graffiti.  It is such a neat way to use different colors, fonts and shapes to create a piece of art for your home or office.

The first project I did was a while back when my baby girl was born.  I created a piece of artwork similar to one that I had seen and liked, but didn't want to pay an arm and leg for.  I created this 8" x 10" subway art birth announcement in PowerPoint.  It took no time at all!

Since this is hanging in her bedroom and has a variety of colors I wanted to keep it simple with the fonts and so I stuck to just one that was easy to read.
You will need:
  • piece of white cardstock (I even using regular printing paper)
  • color printer
  • Powerpoint, Photoshop or some other design software
  • 8" x 10" frame
This is such a simple project; you just have to be able to use the software that you want to make it in.  I have Photoshop, but I thought Powerpoint was just a little simpler for this project and so that is what I used. 

I sized my image to be 8.5" x 11" so that it would print correctly on regular sized paper.  Something to note because you can only slightly tell by the picture, is that I left about 1" on all four sides so that the image would fit into the smaller 8" x 10" frame I was using.  Sometimes you have to print more than once to get the right size so be prepared for it to nit fit right on the first try.

It would be hard for me to tell you how to create the actual artwork step by step.  You just kind of have to play with different font sizes until you get all the information that you want on there and get it to fit right.  You can use mine as a guide though.  After you have your artwork ready, print it off and see if it fits into your frame.  If it doesn't, just resize your image and try again until you have it right.  Once you do, just pop it into your frame and hang it on the wall.

Yes, it really is that simple! 
~ Candace

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Give Thanks {Fall Blocks}

Here we go...another block project!

I love fall, let me say that again, I LOVE FALL!  Ok, do you get it yet?  Well, I do love fall.  I love the mild weather, I love the colors...which is basically my home decor, I love pumpkins, I love pumpkin recipes the most, I love Halloween, I love thanksgivings...because I love to eat!  I love everything about fall!

Thanksgiving, there are so many things to be thankful for.  A lot of people start November 1st of every year writing out what they are thankful for via email, Twitter, Facebook or some other social media network.  I always attempt to do this and then life gets in the way...go figure!

So, I am going to take time right now to list a few things that I am thankful for to get caught up and maybe a little bit ahead on the month.  Here we go...
1.  My baby girl Conlea...I cannot express how thankful I am for my baby girl to be here to celebrate Thanksgiving with me...there was a time when I didn't think this day would ever come and now it less than a month away! 
2.  My husband...who puts up with me no matter what my mood is.
3.  My career...I have a job that I enjoy at a company that I like and I couldn't be in a better place right now.
2.  My family...I have the best family any one could ask for!
3.  My dog Cricket...I can always depend on her to cuddle with me when I need it most.

Now to the blocks...

You will need:
  • 2 x 4 wood strips cut in 4 different heights, I used a 4", a 6" and two 5" blocks
  • 1 x 1 wood strip cut 7" long, this will be on its side
  • scrapbook paper and letters or printed image from computer
  • sandpaper
  • black paint or spray paint
  • black ink pad and paper towel
  • Modpodge and brush (I like the foam ones for this!)
After you have cut your blocks and measured the face of each one, create letters for each block.  For this project I used scrapbook paper and cut out letters on my Cricut.

Paint your blocks...I prefer spray paint because it is easy.  If you want it to be dark black acrylic paint is the best, but I wanted the black to be lighter on this project.  Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect because you want it to have an antiqued look anyway, which you will achieve by using the sandpaper after the paint has dried. 

While your blocks are drying, ink the edges of your scrapbook paper using a paper towel dabbed in the black ink pad and rubbed along the edges.  This part also doesn't have to be perfect. 

Once your blocks are dried and your letters are ready, sand the edges of your blocks.  Paint Modpodge on the front of the block where you will put the scrapbook paper.  Rub from the center out to the edges to attach it to the block without any wrinkles or air bubbles.  If you didn't print your design on the computer and you have letters to attach also, paint on top of the paper and add your letters.  Once your letters are in place, add one more layer of Modpodge over the letters to seal them and give your blocks a more finished look.

That is it...done until next time.  You can also check out my other blocks here

~ Candace

Chicken, Ranch and Rice Soup


What sounds better when you spend a chilly fall day at home watching football (and the ACM awards from last week on my DVR)?  The weather is just perfect for a warm bowl of soup, and one that has a little kick to it at that! 

I had a few guinea pigs at my house this afternoon to test it with me and they enjoyed it as much as I did.  This isn't an original recipe, but one that I modified just a bit.  I would really like to make this in the crockpot next time.  The crockpot just makes such good shredded chicken, which is what I like in my soups.  But until next time, here is the stove top version, which was pretty awesome anyway.  This recipe yields about 8 servings at 4 WW Pts+ each.  Enjoy!

Chicken, Ranch and Rice Soup
You will need:
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2  medium onion, finely chopped (can use more if you want a bigger kick)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and slices
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp garlic powder (try 3 tbsp fresh minced garlic)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup instant rice
  • 4 cans chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp Ranch Dressing seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Saute onions, carrots and celery for 10 minutes until soft.  Stir in garlic powder or if fresh garlic, cook for another minute or two.  Stir in chicken breast and rice. 


Pour chicken broth over mixture and add Ranch seasoning, salt, pepper and hot sauce (if using).  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.

I found the original recipe here.  This recipe adds Dijon mustard and uses more onion than I did, but I felt like half of an onion was enough after tasting the soup.  Hope you like it!

~ Candace

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Fluff

I love pumpkin, even when it isn't Thanksgiving!  And so I have come across some great pumpkin recipes that I am dying to try.

This is a great recipe for dipping fruit, graham crackers or anything else that you desire and if you are eating skinny, it is a great snack.  If you use graham crackers you basically have a Pumpkin Chiffon pie!  I have used apples, bananas and graham crackers and they all taste great.

My husband had my father-in-law try this recipe with baby carrots.  I wouldn't recommend this though...I think he was little confused as to what a sweet treat this was, rather than a veggie dip! :)

The entire mixture is only 8 Points+ and so you can create 4 large servings for only 2 Points+ each.  What a bargain if you are counting points!
Pumpkin Fluff
You will need:
  • 8 oz light whipped topping
  • 15 oz can pureed pumpkin
  • 1 box sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
  • pumpkin pie spice to taste
Blend pumpkin, spice and pudding mix.  Fold in whipping cream until blended and chill for an hour or two.  Someone suggested putting it between graham crackers and then freezing it to make a pumpkin ice cream sandwich...yum!

That is it!  You can also put into several small containers and freeze until you are ready to use!